There is a cold war between Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets right now, and about a week after he asked to be traded, there doesn’t seem to be any resolution in sight.
There seem to be three main teams vying for Durant’s services: the Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat, and Toronto Raptors.
Of the three, the Raptors may be the most intriguing team, partly because they have plenty of solid, young players they can send Brooklyn for the two-time NBA Finals MVP.
In a potential trade, the Nets will likely ask for forward Scottie Barnes, the reigning Rookie of the Year, but if Toronto executive Masai Ujiri is serious about winning another championship, he will hold firm and not give up Barnes.
Nets, Raptors discussed a deal for Kevin Durant last week. Recent reports today indicated that Toronto didn’t want to part ways with Scottie Barnes.
— 👑 Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson (@ScoopB) July 6, 2022
Barnes Could Have Serious Star Potential Himself
When the Raptors took Barnes with the fourth overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft, not a ton was expected from him, at least not right away.
But Barnes shined bright almost from the start, and for the season he averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists while shooting a strong 49.2 percent from the field.
Many expected the Raptors to miss the playoffs, but they instead won 48 games and took the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Barnes is a very intriguing player, as he can play either forward spot, and he is very versatile, as he can finish strong at the basket but can also run the break and hit the open man like a point guard would.
In his first playoff game scottie barnes put up:
Near triple double & left the game early. Simply amazing from a rookie pic.twitter.com/cLZ8ECshkT
— OG-Wan Kenobi (@Gyro_22) July 7, 2022
He also has tremendous defensive potential, as he possesses a 7-foot-2 wingspan and can guard multiple positions.
Barnes does have work to do moving forward, especially on his 3-point shooting, as he made just 30.1 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc in 2022.
But with his strong ball-handling and finishing skills, several All-Star appearances could be in his future.
The Raptors Should Keep Barnes For Another Reason
Barnes’ high potential isn’t the only reason why the Raptors shouldn’t give him up for Durant.
Another thing that needs to be considered is the fact that Durant will be 34 years of age next season and that he has been injury-prone of late.
Since tearing his Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals, he has played in a total of only 90 games the past two seasons, including just 35 games in the 2020-21 campaign.
Yes, Durant is arguably the best player in the world, but one has to wonder if he’s a declining asset at this point.
Keeping Barnes around would give Toronto some insurance for if (or when) Durant gets hurt again and has to miss some extended time.
But beyond that, Barnes would allow the team to remain competitive after Durant either leaves or has simply declined to the point where he is no longer a star.
Plus, the Raptors would need Barnes to field a strong enough team around Durant to seriously contend for the world title.
There is simply no reason why the Raptors should get antsy and cave in by giving up a possible future star or superstar for one who may only have another couple of years left.NEXT: The Raptors Should Take A Swing At Trading For A Star